Ben Kweller Fitzgerald's April 19, 2012
While I can't tell you that Ben Kweller is a polarizing, avant-garde, demiurgic artist, I can tell you that while finding a way to rhyme sexy with spaghetti, he remains an excellent musician.
Kweller, now 30, has been playing music for years, starting out in his '90s rocker band Radish in 1993. He has said that Radish's music could be considered as "sugar metal"; I haven't had the chance to listen to much of that, but basically he seems to have been having a blast playing music for years, keeping up his feel-good fervor into his 30s.
Kweller's newest album, Go Fly a Kite, having been released in February through his own label, The Noise Company, further showcases his traditional talent while toning down his quirky charm a bit.
Without giving Kweller's new album a good listen, I wanted to say that it is a little too serious for my taste, honestly. He still looks 20, but I guess that's some kind of proof that he's 30 now, or something like that.
Seeing him live changed my opinion about that, though. He played songs from his newest albums and older albums, too, and they all made sense being played back to back. He's full of spark and just an adorable powerhouse live, rocking out to every song.
Before Thursday, I had kind of forgotten about Ben Kweller's, say, awesomeness. Many of his catchy indie-pop tunes may call out in some kind of quirky adolescent feel, yet remain mature through his musicianship.
Adjectives, music writing, I can't even say it right. Ben Kweller just does his thing. The crowd ranged from everything in between and beyond whiny teenyboppers, hipsters, broskis and working adults over 40, and they were all really cheering for him.
It seemed like most of the crowd was singing along to most of his songs. Like the varied crowd, Kweller could be seen as good clean fun, or just fun, or at least just adorable, but I can't see anyone disliking him.
He sounds exactly the same live as recorded. In fact, when performing songs from his new album, he sounded even better live.
As pictured here, Kweller is a multi-instrumentalist, working well with all of the members of his supporting band. It's his balance between crystal-clear pop and a healthy little dose of distortion that kept the crowd so varied, too.
Rocking with his Iggy Pop T-shirt on, Kweller still remains gimmick- free. He gives us feel-good songs without the cheese.
That being said, since he seems pretty much the same as he was, say, ten years ago, I can see Ben Kweller sticking around in the music world and just being generally awesome for years to come.
Personal Bias: I forgot how much I liked Ben Kweller. He just makes me happy.
The Crowd: See above.
Overheard In the Crowd: Drunken girls love the puppy-dog-cute Kweller.
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Random Notebook Dump: He is going to look 25 when he's 45!